Why Is My Keyboard Not Working

Nathan Rizzuti Profile image

Written by:

Updated June 27, 2022

Switch-based keyboards were invented in the 1970s and are used for everything from blogging to gaming. But whatever your purpose, a user needs to know how to maintain their keyboard to keep it working properly. Unfortunately, even the best keyboards are subject to malfunction and mishap, so we’re going to address some of the common answers to the question, “Why is my keyboard not working?”


  • Keyboards can stop working for many reasons, but the primary trouble keyboard users face is dirty switches.
  • There are some hardware fixes users can do themselves, like cleaning and reattaching the cable connector. But most hardware fixes will need to be taken to a computer technician.
  • Users can take some troubleshooting steps to fix glitches and malfunctions in their keyboards by installing updates or reinstalling the keyboard driver software.

And if you are an Apple user who’s unsure if you need to replace your MacBook Air keyboard, we have another great article on how to fix MacBook keyboards.

What to Do When Your Keyboard Stops Working

Whether a corded or wireless keyboard, there are a handful of common reasons you’re having keyboard problems. It could be a settings issue affecting the keyboard layout so that when you press a key on your keyboard, it types different letters. Other problems might be caused by dirt getting caught in the switches, so it’s essential to know how to clean a keyboard with compressed air.

Insider Tip

Keep a spare external keyboard around if your old one stops working.

The solutions to these problems are many. Below we’ll show you what to do when these problems arise so that you can get those fingers back to typing.

Restart Computer


The first thing is to head straight for the power button.


Power the computer off, let it rest for a second, and then restart.


Then, check again to see if the keyboard is still having problems.

Dirty Keyboard


So if you notice that some of the keys on your laptop keyboard aren’t working right, you should first look to clean it. Check your keyboard for any dirt, dust, grime, or liquid that may be caught in the switches.


To do this, you need to flip your laptop or external keyboard so that the key is facing down.


Then, take a can of compressed air and spray in a zigzag pattern twice over the keys. Then flip on the keyboard on its right and left edge and do this again.


If your keys are very sticky and require a deep cleaning, you’ll have to take the keyboard apart and wipe the switches with a damp microfiber cloth.

Hardware Issue


Most hardware issues are hard to solve and should be taken to a specialist for diagnosis. But one thing you can do is check and clean the cable connector.


To fix the cable connector, you will have to open your computer to access the electronics.


Once accessed, detach the cable connector and clean it with a dry cotton cloth.


Then reconnect it, put the computer back together, and check to see if it works better.

Software Issue


Go into the Windows settings, then “Updates and Security”. Check for any available downloads.


Press “check for updates.” If there are any available updates, go through the process of installing them. If there are none, restart your computer.


Test the keyboard and see if this solves your issues.


If this doesn’t work, in your search bar, type “device manager.”


Double click “keyboards.” This option will open a device list. Then, find the right device and double-click on it.


Then press “uninstall device.” After it’s complete, reboot your computer, and it should reinstall with the latest keyboard driver.


It’s never a good idea to store a keyboard or computer in a room with high humidity levels, like the bathroom or laundry room.


How do I turn on the onscreen keyboard?

Windows users can access the onscreen keyboard by powering on the computer and clicking the button (which looks like a clock) on the bottom right side of the screen. It will show you the option to access the onscreen keyboard function.

What causes a keyboard to lock?

For wireless keyboards, it could be a connection issue. Still, it could also be from pressing the wrong key or key combinations on your pad, like the “NumLock” button.

When should I replace my keyboard?

Suppose you’ve performed a deep cleaning, software updates, driver installments, and checked for any obvious hardware issues. If your keyboard is still not running correctly, you should consider buying a new keyboard.

STAT: A study found that 18% of all keystrokes use the spacebar. (source)

Nathan Rizzuti Profile image